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Foundation for Youth Pilots LifeSkills in Local Schools

Foundation For Youth is using state grant funding to pilot several new drug-abuse prevention programs in local schools, the Boys and Girls Club and after-school programs.

The $500,000 grant, funded through a two-year Communities That Care grant from the Indiana Department of Mental Health and Addiction, was awarded last summer for programs to educate children about substance abuse, said Andrea Vogel, director of the Communities That Care program offered through FFY.

The funding covers administrative and programming costs, in addition to training provided through the program. Vogel supervises an administrative staff of three people, and supervises 10 to 15 facilitators who present the programming in Bartholomew County.

At the end of March, the grant program has served about 1,000 individuals, Vogel said.

Vogel said she is hopeful that the grant, which became available last July, can be renewed in 2018 for another two-year cycle of programming.

Programs are provided from elementary through college levels and are focused on substance-abuse prevention, Vogel said.

The Communities That Care grant features several other components, including LifeSkills Training that helps students to develop coping, social and anger-management skills, in addition to teaching substance-abuse prevention, Vogel said.

“Youths are kind of bombarded with so many things … and to me, it’s important to provide them with as many skills as we can,” she said.

LifeSkills is being piloted in seventh-grade health classes at Northside Middle School, said Chuck Kime, Foundation For Youth executive director.

FFY is also partnering with the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center to offer the LifeSkills program at the juvenile facility.

Kime said the overall goal through the Communities That Care grant program is to give young people tools so they can be successful in life and make smart decisions.

One ongoing goal of the grant-funded programs is to look for ways to make them self-sustainable in the future in case the grant money does not materialize in the future, she said.

“We are out there as a resource,” Vogel said. “I hope to see an increase of the community collaboration (about substance-abuse prevention) that’s already started because that’s so important to all of this.”

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